10 Biggest Souvenir Thieves in Sports
Items from historic sports events are the biggest money making pieces of memorabilia out there. Fans run on the field to rip up chunks of turf, grab piles of dirt to put in a jar, rip seats from their rivets, or even take the jersey right off the back of an athlete stand to make lots of money.
However, there are also athletes themselves who make sure they hold onto famous pieces of sports lore for their own private collection. These players have turned their private mantles into their own private Hall of Fame collections.
Or, there is just straight up theft, which has landed regular Joes in jail and the lucky few who just got away without punishment. Here are the 10 Biggest Souvenir Thieves in Sports.
Jeter had the New York media in a tizzy throughout the summer of 2008. Reporters asked him if he intended to take anything from the old Yankee Stadium and Jeter said he had something in mind, but wouldn't say what.
It turns out Jeter took the famous sign outside the Yankees clubhouse that had Joe DiMaggio's famous quote stating "I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee."
Doug Mientkiewicz found himself in a very opportune position at the end of the 2004 World Series. The ball from the final out of the Red Sox's first World Series in 86 years landed in the first baseman's glove and he did not relinquish it.
In fact, Mientkiewicz got into a spat with Red Sox brass, who argued that the ball belonged to the franchise and not the player. It was not until early in the 2006 season that both sides came to an agreement to send the ball to the Hall of Fame.
Puck Stops Here
Philadelphia Flyers defensemen Chris Pronger entered the ranks of the most notorious thieves when it came to light that he was taking the game puck at the end of games during this year's Stanley Cup Finals.
That drew the anger of Blackhawks players who wanted to keep the pucks for themselves. What does Pronger think of the puck stealing?
"It's in the garbage," Pronger said according to the New York Daily News, "where it belongs."
Yankee Stadium / Shea Stadium Thieves
Both the Yankees and Mets knew they had to run very tight security when it came down to the last home stands of the 2008 season. Both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium were about to close their doors for the last time and fans wanted everything they could take.
There were dozens of arrests for vandalism, trespassing, and other minor crimes as fans attempted to kick apart chairs, steal signs, and even chip chunks of cement from the walls of both ballparks.
The Swiss women's curling team got a bit of a shock during their warm up for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Following a training session in Winnipeg in early February, the Swiss team came out to their van to find much of their equipment had been stolen from it.
I guess there could have been a desperate Canadian out there looking for free curling gear.
Sidney Crosby's Catburglar?
Just minutes after Canada's Gold Medal win at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, articles belonging to national icon Sidney Crosby went missing. One of his gloves and the stick he played with in the medal-winning game vanished shortly after the final horn.
The crime remained a mystery until club officials realized his gear was misplaced and not stolen. A nation breathed easy.
However, three years earlier Crosby wasn't so lucky. The jersey he wore during Canada's win in the World Junior Hockey Championship was promptly stolen and never returned.
Jordan's Got Halved
We all know Michael Jordan made the No. 23 famous (and 45 for a brief period), but for one night Jordan was forced to wear a third number. On February 14, 1990, MJ's No. 23 was swiped from his locker, which forced him to wear a No. 12 jersey for one night.
Clubhouse Cash Seeker
In 2002, former Yankees bench player Ruben Rivera became more famous for his theft than anything he did on the field (even his bizarre base running in San Francisco included).
Rivera thought it was wise to steal a glove and bat from Derek Jeter all for the price tag of $2,500. Rivera did this while under a $1 million salary. That's poor cost analysis right there. A simple Google search of "Ruben Rivera" lands his heist as the top search result.
Emmitt Smith got a bit of bad news after celebrating the Cowboys' Super Bowl XXVIII victory. His helmet was stolen right off the field during the Cowboys on-field celebration.
The theft angered Smith, who went on Dallas radio and demanded the helmet's return. Weeks later, the helmet was anonymously returned to the Cowboys star.
Lance's Bike Gets Boosted
You know how sometimes cheap electronics are accused of falling off the back of a truck? Well that was actually the case with Lance Armstrong's $10,000 ride. Last year, Armstrong's custom bike was stolen from his team's equipment truck after a Tour of California race.
The thief was later discovered to be a guy named Lee Crider, who received three years in prison for burglary.